-Assumes his best broadcaster voice-
Why hello there! You seem new to this RP. What's that? You want to be a shop owner? Well go right on ahead! Hmm? No one is showing up? Well don't fret, there's hundreds of ponies actually wanting to visit! That's right, NPC's. Any RPer's backup. See? Now your store is bustling! "I've never had this many customers!" There ya go!
-Back to reality-
This runs true for anyone who has a character with a new shop... I have no customers, no one is showing up, no one cares! No... Either it's because no one knows about your store yet, or like some of the more "seasoned" RPers on here, they're just waiting for you to prove that you can RP.
Solo RP is bad
No. It's not. Whoever said that either has a massive ego about themselves, or is so popular they don't have to solo RP, or... Is a jerk, but I digress. Sometimes, you just can't get a RP with anyone, because no one is stopping by your store. So, what does the normal person do?
mlp_PonyA: -Closes up his shop and trots out into Ponyville-
DON'T DO THAT. Make up some customers! There are reasons that ponies don't go to your shop as soon as it opens up, mainly because they don't exactly need what you have at that moment. So, instead of seeking them out, try and make up your own RP. As I've said, there are hundreds of customers waiting to visit your store, you just have to be them, so to speak. Let's demonstrate.
mlp_PonyA: -Hears a ring at the door, and looks up- Welcome to 'Insert shop name here!' How can I help you?
mlp_PonyA: (as NPC) "I just saw your shop opened up, and wanted to stop by and see what's for sell."
mlp_PonyA: -Grins happily, and trots over to the pony- Well, let me show you some of our wears! Over here, we have... Satchels. Lots and lots of satchels. And over there? Peanut brittle.
mlp_PonyA: (as NPC) "Odd combination..."
mlp_PonyA: Tell me about it, but satchels can carry a lot of peanut brittle!
Simple, right? There's so much you can do with an NPC, you just have to have the want or drive to do so. So people say that solo RP is a joke. Who cares? It both helps you improve your RP, and proves that you can to others.
But I don't know what to do, Aero!
That's what makes NPC's fun. You can do pretty much whatever you want, within guidelines, of course. There are times that no one is on, or there's no one around, so, what do you do? Make up a scene with a NPC, do something fun, have a peanut obbsessed customer, or a satchel inspector, or even a pony who thinks satchels are just purses. (They are. right? No. They're murses. Come on!)
I'll give you a perfect example, myself. Aero is captain of B Team of the Wonderbolts, who, techincally don't exist according to the show, and thus, no one RP's as them. So, what have I done? I've created my own independent set of NPC's to play as them, such as Daunt, Jenson, Wedge, Afterburner, etc. Sure, by some RPer's standards, it demonstrates my subpar ability to actually try and find a RP to get in, but considering that 4 out of the 7 days of a week, Aero is in Cloudsdale doing his job, or... Stuck at home for some inexpliciable reason, it's easy to make up a scene with them. And it gives me some ability to do what I need to with the Wonderbolt's. There are perfect examples all through out the RP, you just need to look for them.
As for you? Half of the RP is references to something, or ideas people just randomly got. Look for something that is fun, and within the guidelines. A Whose Line scene is always fun. (Such as a customer doing a two line vocabulary with you. Gives your character a reason to have some sense of crazy) But don't do that too much, takes away from originality.
Ok, so I did a solo RP, and no one noticed. You lied! Liiiiiied!
RP isn't a fancy cake that's handed to you on a silver plater. You gotta work for it. So you did a solo scene, sometimes it helps to ask one of the more seasoned RPers on here how you did, (Within reason, don't be annoying.) If they say you did well, pat yourself on the back, and have at it. If not? Try and locate it, and work on it with more solo scenes. What I can say is this. While solo RP /= regular RP, which does not even closely grow your follower count as RPing with others, it helps prepare you for that. Believe me, there are things you /don't/ want to do as a first timer on here, such as being hurt and needing help, being an orphan, all of that "Oh pity me" stuff. I can tell you, won't get Aero's attention. Even if it doesn't look like it, someone did noticed, and given time, and the right circumstances, they will seek you out, for one reason or another. Simply put, the harder you work to get your RP right, the more people will notice.
So, in conclusion?
Sure. Solo RP can be a catch 22, it can get boring, and it can make you feel bad, since it makes you feel like no one really cares about what you do. But, it can also be a deciding factor in whether others want to approach you or not. (I dunno about that, some people just don't care about new RPer's) And, given that, it can show that you're willing to work hard to get your RP correct and up to snazz with the guidelines that we hold dear here. And that even if no one is around, you're still able to keep yourself busy. Simple as that. And, even sometimes, the NPC's you make, if RPed enough, will sometimes be acknowledged by others. (Such as Daunt. Kiryn and Soarin will acknowledge him whenever he's around, because I've NPC'd him so much. And since he's Aero's righthoof pony on B Team.) But, just do what you have to. Remember the a golden rule of RP: "Your own RP is your own, just because some one doesn't like it, doesn't mean anything. If you're happy with it, then that's enough."